About Us


Friends of Fort Fisher is a non-profit formed to support Fort Fisher Sate Historic Site. We partner with Fort Fisher State Historic Site and the Department of Natural and Cultural to preserve this historic battlefield and training ground, interpret the Fort Fisher stories and promote a greater understanding of and appreciation for the significance of Fort Fisher’s role in our history.


By late 1864, Wilmington, NC was the last remaining Confederate port open on the eastern seaboard. General Lee depended so greatly on Wilmington that he referred to the supplies coming through its port and loaded onto its railroad as the lifeblood of his men.

Fort Fisher was the largest and the strongest fort protecting both the port and its blockade runners. Lincoln understood the importance of Fort Fisher and called for Union forces to take the fort. The Union attacked and was thwarted in late December 1864, but returned on January 13, 1865. Deep in the night of January 15, 1865, Fort Fisher fell. Wilmington was captured by mid-February and Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, VA less three months after the fall of Fort Fisher.

In 1941, Fort Fisher became militarily significant once again as a WWII auxiliary post for Camp Davis in Holly Ridge, NC, training at least 43 different anti-aircraft battalions, coast artillery regiments and engineer, signal corps, ordinance and air warning units.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Fort Fisher is a North Carolina and National treasure. Its stories include those who built, defended, fought at, trained at and, in many cases, died on its grounds. Today Fort Fisher State Historic Site is growing. With over 900,000 visitors a year, it is North Carolina’s most visited historic site! It serves local families, school groups, retirement groups, military groups, Jr. ROTC, Boys/Girls Club summer camp, YMCA summer camp, Fort Fisher descendants and tourists. Architectural plans are being drawn and a massive fundraising effort is underway to build a new Visitor’s Center in the near future, one whose expanded and modernized exhibits will better represent Fort Fisher’s importance in our Nation’s history and the many stories which make up its role.


John M. Coble, Chairman (Wilmington, NC)

Dennis St. Andrew, Vice Chairman (Cary, NC)

Harry Parham, Treasurer (Wilmington, NC)

M. Tyrone Rowell, Secretary (Wilmington, NC)

Jackie Oakes (Wilmington, NC)

John Downing (Wilmington, NC)

Jim Johnson (Shallotte, NC)

Josh Myers (Greensboro, NC)

Mike McCarley (Wilmington, NC)

Mark McLamb (Wilmington, NC)

Edward Halloran (Chapel Hill, NC)

Richard Wallace (Kure Beach, NC)

Denis White (Wrightsville Beach, NC)

James Steele, III {ex officio} (Wilmington, NC)


Provided leadership to secure state and federal funding, permits and regulatory changes to build the protective 3,050 foot oceanfront revetment

Purchased the reproduction 32-pounder rifled cannon and hand built carriage for Shepherd's Battery

Purchased the site's reproduction 12-pounder bronze Napoleon cannon, carriage, implements and trailer, coehorn mortar, replica English 8-inch Armstrong Rifled Cannon and authentic period uniforms, rifles and accoutrements

Ongoing support and funding for annual Mary Holloway Seasonal Interpreter Internship and annual monetary support for the NC History Day Competition - Civil War Prize

Raised over $90,000 for new interpretive historical markers, memorial benches and three new temporary exhibits for the 150th Anniversary year

Raised over $70,000 to sponsor the Fort Fisher 150th Anniversary Commemoration weekend attended by more than 22,000 visitors

Secured state funding for the $147,000 fort defensive palisade replacement wich is an 1,100 foot long wooden structure that protected the fort's north face from land assault

Assumed leadership role in developing the Fort Fisher Master Site Plan for future site development

Conducted a successful reunion during the 150th Anniversary Commemoration for 187 descendants of both Union and Confederate soldiers, sailors and marines who fought at Fort Fisher and presented 750 specially minted and numbered medal to descendants, re-enactors and anniversary sponsors


Become a member. Join Friends of Fort Fisher. Volunteer in our gift shop or as an interpreter at the Fort. Join a committee or our Board of Directors. Put on a fundraiser through your company or community group. Sponsor an event or make a donation.

If you would like to know more about sponsorship and naming opportunities, please contact us.


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